If you love a good race car movie (and who doesn’t?), drive at a safe and reasonable speed to your friendly neighborhood cinema to see Ford v Ferrari, the thrilling tale of American carmaker Ford’s efforts to boost its sales and reputation by beating Italy’s Ferrari at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966.
Leading the charge are Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), an American race car driver and designer, and Ken Miles (Christian Bale), a British driver and engineer. They do battle with the arrogant, short-sighted suits at Ford while negotiating their own volatile friendship, crafting the fastest vehicle they can. We also see glimpses of Miles’ domestic life; he has a smart and spunky wife (a very good Caitriona Balfe) and an adoring son (Noah Jupe). The racing sequences are exhilarating, but there’s plenty of human drama as well, and Damon and Bale are at the top of their games. If you really want to get your adrenaline pumping, follow a screening of Ford v Ferrari with the excellent Rush from 2013, the story of the 1970s rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
I rooted for the Ford team throughout Ford v Ferrari, of course, but I have to admit to having a soft spot in my heart for European cars, an affection I owe to my father. He loved fast German cars, especially Porsches, of which he owned two (in succession) that I’m aware of. One was a targa from the early 1970s; here’s a photo I love of my late brother and me with it in 1973. He’s rocking a white jumpsuit, and I’m looking fabulous in pigtails.
We’re lighter, we’re faster, and if that don’t work, we’re nastier.
— Carroll Shelby, Ford v Ferrari